Occlusion training is also called blood flow restriction (BFR) training. The goal is to reduce the time it takes to build muscle strength and size. When blood is restricted in the muscles, they get bigger. This inflammation of the muscles is called hypertrophy.
Hypertrophy sets in motion a number of processes that lead to muscle growth and strengthening. Blood flow restriction (or “BFR”) is a physical therapy modality that restricts blood flow to a muscle. BFR requires the application of a device similar to a blood pressure cuff or a tourniquet to securely compress the blood vessels underneath. The goal is to apply enough pressure to completely restrict venous blood flow (blood LEAVES the muscle), while allowing arterial blood flow (blood enters the muscle).
When done correctly, blood ends up accumulating in the muscle beyond the tourniquet, creating a hypoxic environment in which the tissue is deprived of oxygen. This lack of oxygen is said to increase growth hormones, muscle hypertrophy and muscle strength. What if we told you that there is a way to make greater profits in the gym with less work and that all it takes is to restrict blood flow a little? If you are interested, it may be time to familiarize yourself with blood flow restriction (BFR) training. Sometimes referred to as occlusion training, the method involves placing a specialized tourniquet (such as these) around one of the limbs to control blood flow and, at least theoretically, get big gains from training with low-intensity exercises.
The goal of blood flow restriction training is to restrict venous return and, at the same time, allow arterial flow by strategically enveloping the upper limbs. By restricting the veins and not the arteries, blood can continue to accumulate in an active muscle and remains trapped there. It's like filling a balloon with water to its maximum capacity (without it breaking, of course). When blockages develop in the coronary arteries, the restriction of blood flow causes a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle.
This condition is known as coronary artery disease. Insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle can cause symptoms of chest pain (angina). If the coronary artery is completely blocked, it will cause a heart attack. During a heart attack, part of the heart muscle may die from lack of oxygen.
However, these symptoms are often discovered at the beginning of a Blood Flow Restriction Training program and dissipate as the individual becomes more accustomed to this training modality. People with heart conditions, blood clot problems, cancer, and those who are pregnant should consult a doctor before attempting occlusive training. It is safer to use a specific pressure for each individual patient, because different pressures obstruct the amount of blood flow for all individuals under the same conditions. By getting all that blood to the muscles that work without letting it go, a couple of key things happen.
In several studies and surveys, less than 0.06% of people (healthy adults and older adults with heart disease) had no change in blood clots. The effects of blood flow restriction on upper body musculature located distal and proximal to the applied pressure. Changes in muscle strength after blood flow restriction training are more closely related to the rapid increase in muscle hypertrophy than to neural adaptations. If you have been injured or are recovering from orthopedic surgery, blood flow restriction therapy (BFR) is a proven strengthening technique that can help your recovery.
To increase your training frequency, do any of the quick finishers described below on what is normally a “day off”. Knowing this, when implementing blood flow restriction training, it is important to consider both the width of the cuff and the circumference of the limb. There is increasing evidence to support the use of blood flow restriction at rest, combined with aerobic training, or combined with low-load resistance training to mitigate disuse muscle atrophy and improve hypertrophic and strength responses in skeletal muscles. This approach may be beneficial in identifying people at risk of harmful complications during blood flow restriction, however, general contraindications and precautions should be considered.